A massive explosion has been reported at a large firearms plant in the Czech Republic, around 40 miles south of the capital of Prague. The explosion occurred close to 1 p.m. Monday at the Sellier & Bellot plant in the town Vlasim.
According to local Czech media, the town mayor is saying that as many as three people may have been killed in a firearms ammunition factory explosion in the community of Vlasim.
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“There are probably two to three people [dead],” Mayor Ludek Jenista told Czech Radio, based on information he had from emergency officials at the site of the explosion.
The good news is emergency officials are reporting that so far there is no apparent sign of a fire associated with the massive blast. “Explosion hit the plant that produces firearms around 12:35 pm (local time). No fire followed the blast,” Ladislav Holomcík, a spokesman for the Fire Rescue Service of Central Bohemia, said.
Holomcik also noted that several employees that worked at the plant are still missing, and emergency crews have not yet been able to enter the scene of the explosion.
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Later reports indicate that a hazmat firefighting unit has been brought in so that rescue and recovery operations can move forward.
It is not currently known how much damage was done to the ammunition manufacturing plant, nor how long the factory will be closed for repairs.
The Sellier & Bellot ammunition firm was founded in 1825, and the company has 1,400 employee with a global market of 80 countries. Sellier & Bellot ammo is very popular in the United States. In fact, close to 30% of the firms ammo sales are to the U.S.
According to Czech government records, the last fatal accident at the Vlasim ammunition plant was in 2003, when chemicals used in making primers exploded, killing one employee and wounding another.